I had no idea Pundit and meditation would be so important, but from a very early age I knew I was different. Most of my childhood on school premises, and I was particularly aware of spirits, especially when the buildings were empty. I was going through a typical teenage phase, but for most of my teens I felt too old to do most things! I also spent a lot of time with adults, despite being nearly the oldest in my year.
Family influences on the Spiritual Path
I spoke to Punditt about this, and he recognised the condition. This may have been in part why I spent so much time with Punditt partying in some form. The sense of responsibility is stifling, so balance is required. Transcendental Meditation kept me going. As you may know, meditators are generally veggie, which made things easier. In fact, it was diet that turned me to Punditt. For years Maharishi had gone on about consciousness as the basis for change, but then Ayur Veda crept in, and the message is diluted so that food could change consciousness. Food influences, but please, keep this for medicine, and not everything we eat. The seeds of doubt were sown in my mind. Jyotish, or Indian Astrology also appeared, and this fascinated me.
I realised that Punditt had the power to transform food. He smoked, but it was clear that the smoke had a quality. Punditt stopped smoking after a while, but he got he me drinking and eating meat. Alcohol obviously changes consciousness to the detriment, but when you are with a Master, the effect is entirely different.
Transcendental Meditation before I met Punditt
With the TM Movement food was vegetarian and bland, but Punditt changed all that. Very soon he had given me cookery lessons, and we were making the hottest, spicy curries of chicken and lamb. We would put in a handful of hot chillies, loads of garlic and ginger. The heat or Tapas generated probably helped with kundalini. The cooking sessions invariably turned into a party, with plenty to drink – I was never sober when cooking in those days.
Alienation was having its effect… I was becoming estranged from the TM Movement, since I was living in the TM Centre, turning up drunk and smelling of curry! Something had to give, and one day I was unceremoniously expelled from the Centre – apparently I had done something unspeakable. After living on various sofas for several weeks, the owner of the TM Centre contacted me to say that I could live in one of her flats (apartments) just down the road overlooking the seafront. Punditt was delighted, but it was a little scary for me – this would be the first time I had lived alone, rather than communally in some form.
God works in mysterious ways. Punditt had succeeded in alienating me from the spiritual community that had helped me for nearly ten years, the self-same community that had brought me to him. It took months before I found out what I had done wrong, and it was not the drinking! Apparently I had an affair with one of the teachers, and had sex with her in the TM Centre. Except that it wasn’t me, and obviously one of the parties felt guilty and exonerated me. For once, being the scapegoat was a good thing. That was a bizarre time in my life, and people around me must have thought I had gone off the rails. Alienation does that.
The Transition from Transcendental Meditation
Now, I am sure you are well aware of what Cults do to brainwash their charges? The students are taken from their community, left in an isolated place, and deprived of sleep, etc. I had the inverse with Punditt. He took me out of the TM community, and put me into the real world, of pubs, gambling, clubs, and the seedy side of Brighton. All this happening barely half a mile from where I was living. To live a spiritual life is to integrate the spiritual with the grossly material.
Here is the paradox. I was spending time with a man who was the antithesis of the Guru in everything he did, and yet my evolution sped up incredibly. It was a roller coaster, when anything could and did happen, and I never knew what was happening next.
When Alienation becomes part of the Spiritual Path
There comes a point in your spiritual development when the thought appears: “Am I human and everyone else alien, or am I the alien, and everyone else human?” The separation experienced is profound, and I flip-flopped between the two statements for months. Alienation creates alienating behaviour, as it is difficult to relate to the feelings of people around me. Eventually the question resolves itself.
So, alienation is good for you, and the alienation we see from the environment, greenhouse gases, pollution, politics, violence and sectarianism is a parody of the higher spiritual truths. If we do not experience separation and sorrow, how can we aspire to unity?
People think that spiritual progress is cloistered away in an isolated place away from society. I did that path for many years, but then Punditt threw me into society, so some of my most profound experiences happened amidst the buzz and noise of the pub (it was not the drink). We ate and drank in silence, as Punditt was never verbose, and I learned that asking questions did not particularly get answers. You also need someone who has been through these experiences to guide and help you.